Could we rely on the, yes not quite polished Sharks, to overcome a bumbling Brumbie side; would the Blues take their late Lion bashing into a clash with the returning and flu-ridden Stormers; and would the Rebels as the most impressive Australian side to date cruise past the woeful Waratah team – unfortunately for my Superbru the answer to all these questions were a big fat NEGATIVE captain!
Most medical schemes reimburse members for getting flu shots but I’m pretty sure the Stormers fan club will all pitch in and pay the squad to NOT go that route for the rest of the season. All the talk in the build-up to the clash at Newlands was about the flu bug which had numerous players spending more time in bed this past week than a honeymoon couple. After an absolute cracking first- half effort and holding on for a good win over a Kiwi team it might be time for Robbie Fleck to change his pre- match prep ritual. Rolling around in wet grass, sleeping with the fan on full speed throughout the night, skinny dipping on a chilly evening are all options the Stormers coach can consider this coming week since clearly the Capetonians operate better with a little something foreign in their system.
The Kiwi teams are still clearly a touch above (the Highlanders and Crusaders clash was once again top class) but it was an impressive weekend for the convicts. The Brumbies were less pathetic than the Sharks and the Reds were able to overcome a very volatile Jaguares outfit in Argentina. The all Aussie derby between the Tahs and the Rebels also surprised in terms of the quality of rugby displayed by both teams (especially the home side in the second half).
It was a bit of a mixed bag for the South Africans as the Bulls huffed and puffed early but were eventually blown over by the Chiefs. Some of the most scintillating rugby produced by a South African team in the land of the long white cloud was seen in the opening forty in Hamilton as the Bulls looked slick and focussed. Unfortunately, Sundowns seemed to get stuck into some Zamalek at half time as they became more lethargic after the break and eventually paid the price.
The Sharks put the Saffas to shame in kangaroo country. Social media was pack full of happy pics of the Durbanites showing off their guns on the golden Aussie beaches but unfortunately for Robert du Preez Snr his chargers apparently got stuck in beach mode as they appeared to never pitch up in Canberra at all. Staying on the topic of the beach This Sharks performance will leave their supporters with a feeling of beach sand stuck in every nook and cranny – highly uncomfortable and a tough process to get rid of each and every little grain in the aftermath.
The Stormers gave Rassie something to smile about but the Lions are clearly not even close to finding their full roar despite a top of the log start to the season.
They have now been to the big dance on a couple of occasions and plenty of them have some decent international experience. The time has come for the Lions to not only thrill and entertain but show that they have the capacity to keep their heads and be able to adapt to a situation and change things when they aren’t going your way. For about fifteen or 20 minutes in the second half at Ellispark this Critic was starting to get flashbacks of the darkest day in SA rugby history – the Jap trap setback.
Players like Andries Coetzee and Elton Jantjies can’t continue to mix the magical with the nightmarish – Coetzee missing a pathetic one on one tackle and Jantjies throwing a horrendous intercept pass just to name two incidents of the top of my head. The French go crazy about their Basteraud yet the Lions have Rohan Janse van Rensburg but then stash him on the wing and hardly gave him a touch in the first forty minutes.
The Bulls surprised all by chalking up 4 tries in the opening forty minutes against a Kiwi opponent away from home. Unfortunately they weren’t able to add to their points tally after the turnaround but it was an impressive opening half none the less.
Ambrose Papier showed a glimpse of why Mitchell decided to turn a new paige with regard to this youngster. Pollard is also slowly but surely building his form but the real standout was Jesse Kriel– personally I have been clear on not seeing him as a world class thirteen but on the night he was often like a hot knife through butter with his strong runs at great angles.
In much the some vain the Stormers put on a clinical show in the opening half against the Blues. Hosting the die who shocked everyone with a sparkling display against the Lions, the Stormers hit the Aucklanders early and never gave them a sniff of getting back in the contest as the home side enjoyed a 24-3 lead at the break.
The red-headed Shrek was immense for the Stormers, Kitshoff carrying the ball with great efficiency and also getting the job done at scrum time. Happy feet Willemse continues to impress as well.
Who is Couch Critic?
Hein Diemont is the resident “Couch Critic” in the Goodforthegame Forum and he shares his weekly Super Rugby Blog the “Post Match Scuffle” or “PMS” with us.
In his blog Couch Critic channels his usual weekend swearing, ranting, cheering, whinging and bickering to the written word. Brutally honest opinions of how the Super Rugby action went down from his perspective – no punches pulled, it’s PMS time…
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